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ship, and in the duties of neceffity and mercy p.
CHAP. XXII. Of lawful Oatbs and Vows.
Lawful oath is a part of religious worship a, wherein upon juft occafion, the perfon fwearing, folemnly calleth God to witness what he afferteth or promifeth; and to judge him according to the truth of what he fweareth b.
II. The name of God only is that by which men ought to fwear, and therein it is to be used with a holy fear and reverence c: therefore, to fwear vainly or rafhly by that glorious and dreadful name, or to fwear at all by any other thing, is finful, and to be abhorred d. Yet as, in matters of weight and moment, an oath is warranted by the word of God, under the New Testament, as well as under the Old e; fo a lawful oath being
me, O my God, concerning this
I. a Deut. x. 20. Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God: him fhalt thou serve, and to him fhalt thou cleave, and fwear by his name.
b Exod. xx. 7. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. Lev. xix. 12. And ye shall not fwear by my name falfly, neither fhalt thou prophane the name of thy God: I am the Lord, 2 Cor. i. 23. Moreover, I call God for a record upon my foul, that to fpare you, I came not as yet unto Corinth. 2 Chron. vi. 22. If a man fin against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him, to make him fwear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house; v. 24. Then hear thou from heaven, and do, and judge thy fervants, by requiting the wicked, by recompenfing his way upon
his own head, and by justifying the righteous, by giving him according to his righteoufnefs.
II. c Deut. vi. 13. Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and ferve him, and fhalt fwear by his name.
d Exod, xx. 7. (See letter b) Jer. v, 7. How shall I pardon thee for this thy children have forfaken me, and fworn by them that are no gods: when I fed them to the full, then they committed adultery,. and affembled themselves by troops, in the harlots houfes. Mat. v. 34, But I fay unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven, for it is God's throne. v. 37. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatfoever is more than thefe, cometh of evil. Jam. v. 12、, But above all things, my Brethren, fwear not neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your Yea, be yea, and your Nay, nay; left ye fall into condemnation.
c Heb. vi. 16. For men verily fwear by the greater, and an oath
being impofed by lawful authority, in fuch matters, ought to be taken f.
III. Whofoever taketh an oath, ought duly to confider the weightiness of fo folemn an act, and therein to avouch nothing but what he is fully perfuaded is the truth
g. Neither may any man bind himself by oath to any thing but what is good and juft, and what he believeth so to be, and what he is able and resolved to perform b. Yet it is a fin to refuse an oath touching any thing that is good and juft, being impofed by lawful authority i.
for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. 2 Cor. i. 23. (See letrer b.) Ifa. lxv, 16. That he who bleffeth himself in the earth, fhall blefs himself in the God of truth; and he that fweareth in the earth; fhall fwear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes.
f 1 Kings viii. 31. If any man trefpafs against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him, to caufe him to fwear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house. Neh. xiii. 25. And I contended with them, and curfed them, and fmote certain of them, and pluckt off their hair, and made them fwear by God, faying, Ye fhall not give your daughters unto their fons, nor take their daughters unto your fons, or for yourfelves, Ezra x. 5. Then arofe Ezra, and made the chief priefts and Levites, and all Ifrael to fwear, that they fhould do according to this word: and they fware.
III. g Exod. xx. 7. See letter b.) Jer. xiv. 2. And thou fhalt fwear, The Lord liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteoufnefs; and the nations fhall blefs themselves in him, and in him fhall they glory.
b Gen. xxiv. 2. And Abraham faid unto his eldelt fervant of his
houfe, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray, thee, thy hand under my thigh: v. 3. And I will make thee fwear by the Lord, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto iny fon, of the daughters of the Canaanities, amongst whom I dwell. v, 5. And the fervant faid unto him, Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land; muft I needs bring thy, Son again unto the land from whence thou cameft? v. 6. And Abraham. faid unto him, Beware thou, that thou bring not my fon thither again. v. 8. And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou fhalt be clear, from this my oath; only bring not my fon thither again. v. 9. And the fervant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his mafter, and fware to him concerning that matter.
i Numb. v. 19. And the priest. fhall charge her by an oath, and fay unto the woman, if no man have lien with thee, and if no man haft not gone afide to uncleannefs with another instead of thy hufband, be thou free from this bitter water that causeth the curfe, v. 21. Then the priest fhall charge the woman with an oath of curfing, and the priest fhall fay unto the woman,
Chap. XXII. IV. An oath is to be taken in the plain and common sense of the words, without equivocation or mental refervation k. It cannot oblige to fin; but in any thing not finful, being taken, it binds to performance, although to a man's own hurt A. Nor is it to be violated, although made to heretics or infidels m. V.A
The Lord make thee a curfe and an oath among the people, when the Lord doth make thy thigh to rot, and thy belly to fwell. Neh. v. 12. Then faid they, we will restore them, and will require nothing of them, fo will we do as thou fayeft. Then I called the priests, and took an oath of them, that they fhould do according to this promife. Exod. xxii. 7. If a man shall deliver unto his neighbour money or stuff to keep, and if it be stolen out of the man's houfe: if the thief be found, let him pay double. v. 8. If the thief be not found, then the mafter of the houfe fhall be brought unto the judges, to fee whether he hath put his hand unto his neighbour's goods. 7. 9. For all manner of trefpafs, whether it be for ox, for afs, for fheep, for raiment, or for any manner of loft thing, which another challengeth to be his: the cause of both parties fhall come before the judges and whom the judges fhall condemn, he fhall pay double unto his neighbour. v. 10. If a man deliver unto his neighbour an afs, or an ox, or a fheep, or any beast to keep; and it die, or be hurt, or driven away, no man feeing it, v, 11. Then fhall
the oath of the Lord be between them both, that he hath not put his hand unto his neighbour's goods: and the owner of it shall accept thereof, and he shall not make it good.
IV. k Jer, iv. 2. (See letter g.) Pfal. xxiv. He that hath clean 4. bands, and a pure heart, who hath not lift up his foul unto vanity, nor fworn deceitfully.
/ 1 Sam. xxv. 22. So and more alfo do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him, by the morning light, any that piffeth aginft the wall. v. 32. And David faid unto Abigail, Bleffed be the Lord God of Ifrael, who fent thee this day to meet me: v. 33. And blessed be thy advice, and bleffed be thou that haft kept me this day from coming to fhed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand. v. 34. For in very deed, as the Lord God of Ifrael liveth, who hath kept me back from hurting thee, except thou had hastned and come to meet me, furely there had not been left 'unto Nabal, by the morning light, any that piffeth against the wall. Pfal. xv. 4. In whofe eyes a vile perfon is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the Lord: He that fweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.
m Ezek. xvii. 16. As I live, faith the Lord God, furely in this place where the king dwelleth that made him king, whofe oath he defpifed, and whofe covenant he brake, even with him, in the midst of Babylon he fhall die. v. 18. Seeing he defpifed the oath, by breaking of the covenant, (when lo he had given his hand) and hath done all thefe things, he fhall not efcape. v. 19. Therefore thus faith the Lord God, As I live, furely mine oath that he hath defpifed, and my covenant that he hath broken, even it will I recompenfe upon his own head. Joh. ix. 18. And the children of hack
V. A yow is of the like nature with a promiflary oath, and ought to be made with the like religious care, and to be performed with the like faithfulness .
VI. It is not to be made to any creature, but to God alone : and that it may be accepted, it is to be made voluntarily, out of faith, and confcience of duty, in way of thankfulness for mercy. received, or for the obtaining of what we want; whereby we more strictly bind ourselves to neceffary duties, or to other things, fo far and fo long as they may fitly conduce thereunto p. VII. No
fmote them not, because the princes of the congregation had fworn unto them by the Lord God of Ifrael: and all the congregation murmured a. gainst the princes. v. 19. But all the princes faid unto all the congrega tion, We have fworn unto them by the Lord God of Ifrael: now there fore we may not touch them. With 2 Sam. xxi, 1. Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David enquired of the Lord. And the Lord anfwered, It is for Saul and his bloody houfe, because he flew the Gibeonites.
V. n Ifa, xix. 21. And the Lord fhall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians fhall know the Lord in that day, and shall do facrifice and oblation, yea, they fhall vow a vow unto the Lord, and perform it. Eccl. v. 4. When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it: for he hath no pleasure in fools, pay that which thou halt vowed. v. 5. Better it is that thou should not vow, than that thou fhouldft vow and not pay. v. 6. Suffer not thy mouth to caufe thy fleth to fin, neither fay thou before the angel, that it was an error; wherefore fhould cod be angry at thy voice, and deftroy the work of thine hands? Pfal. Ixi. 8. So will I fing praife unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows. nout
Pfal. lxvi. 13. I will go into thy houfe with burnt-offerings; I will pay thee my vows, v. 14. Which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hath fpoken when I was in trouble.
VI. Pfal. lxxvi. 11. Vow and pay unto the Lord your God: let all that be round about him bring prefents unto him that ought to be feared. Jer. xliv, 25. Thus faith the Lord of hofts, the God of Ifrael, faying, Ye and your wives have both spoken with your mouths, and fulfilled with your hands, faying, We will furely perform our vows that we have vowed, to burn incenfe to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drinkofferings unto her ye will furely accomplish your vows, and furely perform your vows. v. 26. There fore, hear ye the word of the Lord, all Judah that dwell in the land of Egypt, Behold, I have fworn by my great name, faith the Lord, that my name fhall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah, iu alt the land of Egypt, faying, The Lord God liveth.
Deut. xxiii. 21. When thou fhalt vow a vow unto the Lord thy God, thou shalt not flack to pay it: for the Lord thy God will furely require it of thee; and it would be fin in thee. v. 22. But if thou shalt for bear to vow, it fhall be no fin-in thee. v. 23. That which is gone
Chap. XXII. VII. No man may vow to do any thing forbidden in the word of God, or what would hinder any duty therein commanded, or which is not in his own power, and for the performance where of he hath no promife or ability from God q. In which refpects, popish monaftical vows of perpetual fingle life, profeffed poverty, and regular obedience, are so far, from being degrees of higher perfection, that they are fuperftitious and finful foares,
out of thy lips, thou shalt keep and perform; even a free will-offering, according as thou haft vowed unto the Lord thy God, which thou haft promised with thy mouth. Pfal. 1. 14. Offer unto God thanksgiving, and pay thy vows unto the moft High. Gen. xxviii. 20. And Jacob vowed a vow, faying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on; v. 21. So that I come again to my father's houfe in peace: then fhall the Lord be my God. ▼, 22. And this ftone, which I have fet for a pillar, fhall be God's houfe: and of all that thou fhalt give me, I will furely give the tenth unto thee. 1 Sam. i. II. And the vowed a vow, and faid, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but will give unto thine handmaid a man child, then will I give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there fhall no razor come upon his head. Pfal. Ixvi. 13, 14. (See letter .) Pfal. cxxxii. 2. How he fware unto the Lord, and vowed tinto the mighty God of jacob. v. 3. Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my houfe, nor go up into my bed: v. 4. I will not give fleep to mine eyes, or flumber to mine eye lids, v. 5. Until I find out a place for the Lord, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob.
VII. q. Acts xxiii. 12. And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curfe, faying, that they would neither eat nor drink, till they had killed Pau. v. 14. And they came to the chief priests and elders, and faid, We have bound ourselves under a great curfe, that we will eat nothing until we have flain Paul, Mark. vi. 26. And the king was ceeding forry, yet for his oath's fake, and for their fakes who fat with him, he would not reject her. Numb. xxx. 5. But if her father difallow her in the day that he heareth; not any of her vows, or of her bonds wherewith the hath bound her foul, shall stand: and the Lord fhall forgive her, becaufe her father difallowed her. v. 8. But if her husband difallow her on the day that he heard it; then he fhall make her vow which fhe vowed, and that which fhe uttered with her lips, wherewith the bound her foul, of none effect: and the Lord fhall forgive her. v. 12. But if her husband hath utterly made them void on the day he heard them; then whatfoever, proceeded out of her lips, concerning her vows, or concerning the bond of her foul, fhall not ftand: her husband hath made them void, and the Lord fhall forgive her. v. 13. Every vow, and every binding oath to afflict the foul, her husband may establish it, or her husband may make it void,